Hi guys!

Can you believe that it’s December already? As the popular Andy Williams song goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” And if you can’t tell, I am BEYOND excited. December is a month where we can say goodbye to classes, responsibilities, and diets. It’s a month to reconnect, re-gift, and renew before 2014. Since I love lists and you, here is a little something that you can do every day this December! {P.S. The reason this list is “exhaustive” is that I’m writing this in post-turkey stupor. Thanksgiving, you’re just too kind to me…really.}

1. Set the mood. There’s only one month where we can listen to hundreds of Christmas songs that range from Sinatra to Bieber and everywhere in-between. I know that most people set the post-Thanksgiving period as a time for Christmas music, so now’s the time to get on it—in your car, your shower, when you fall asleep at night. You’ll get sick of it by Day 5. Don’t worry. Just keep going.

P.S. Looking for a perfect Christmas playlist? Check mine out on Spotify here.

2. Actually accomplish something on Pinterest. Ladies {and the few brave gents!}, let’s be real. When’s the last time that you actually did something that you pinned? There are recipes to be made, houses to be decorated, unrealistic weddings to plan. Pick a few things off your boards and set aside some time to do them. Being cooped up indoors is one of the perfect times to get your inner craft queen on.

If you’re looking for some Pinterest inspiration…or if you’re new to Pinterest…here are my boards. Sorry not sorry for the lack of social life that will ensue.

3. Unplug and throwback. With the advent of e-cards, videos that transform you and your friends into singing elves, and Cyber Monday sales, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming {okay, a lot} to manage it all. How are you going to make sure everybody in your Google+ circles is properly well-wished? Sometimes all you need to do is turn it off, make yourself a cup of tea, and pull out some stationery {yes, it still exists} and write some Christmas cards. You won’t regret it.

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4. Reconnect with old friends… The holiday season is all about reconciliation and reconnection. Find somebody from high school that you regret not getting to know more, or a family member that you’ve lost touch with, and spend some time getting to know that person again.

5. And make some new ones! Throw some spice into your holiday routines. Nothing shakes up holiday traditions like sharing them with somebody new! Even if you don’t get a chance to connect with them in person, there are plenty of ways to get connected. Like maybe…

6. Write a letter to someone who can’t come home for Christmas. Operation Gratitude makes sure that those serving our nation have a chance to hear how much they are appreciated. None of our holidays or even the simple days we take for granted would be possible without them. So while you’ve got your stationery out, jot a quick note to one of our soldiers letting them know how much you appreciate them and send them on over here.

7. Light it up! I’m all about Christmas lights at all times of the year {I have blue ones hanging in my room.} So find a non-traditional place where you can hang them and go for it! Also, candles. Candles everywhere. They smell so good and add instant class to any situation.

8. Get a taste of your local holidays. Too often our already-rampant American consumerism can be directed towards major chain stores and giants. But there are plenty of local businesses and restaurants that can help you experience a different side of the holidays. Just think: getting Christmas gifts from your city will give those you love a piece of your story!

9. It’s the thought that counts. Even if you’re working on a college student budget, there are still tons of ways to show that you care. Handmade gifts are a great idea. And even if you’re not crafty, here’s a link to some super cute mug-gifts that will fit just about anybody!

10. Go ice skating. I don’t care if you’re an Olympic figure skater or not, there’s nothing funnier than seeing someone stumble around on the ice. It’s a great way to make friends, and if you’re with a special someone you can “accidentally” fall into their arms. Lots.

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11. Two words: Snowball. Fights.

12. Kiss under mistletoe. I’ve never done this before. I don’t even know if mistletoe really exists. But if you’ve got someone special, then make some and get cozy! Or if you’re interested in playing matchmaker, put mistletoe on a stick and see how many awkward kisses you can get out of the whole ordeal.

 13. Give yourself a little wiggle room. As in, buy pants that are flexible enough to accommodate your at-work Christmas party, the many trials to find the perfect Christmas cookie, and the late-night leftovers snuck from the fridge. As my sister Jamie put it, if you’re trying to stick with a diet, may the odds be ever in your favor.

 14. Knit Up! As I mentioned in November’s bucket list, there’s nothing someone {including yourself!} wouldn’t love more than a nice scarf. Grab yourself a pair of needles and yarn and channel your inner grandma!

 15. Pull out those Christmas classics. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without your favorite Christmas movie. My personal favorite is Elf, but there’s nothing like a movie marathon with some hot chocolate. And on that note,

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16. Upgrade your hot chocolate game. Make a promise to yourself that you will no longer settle for your standard package mix. Try out ALL the hot chocolates, add fancy whipped cream and chocolate shavings, or go for a non-traditional flavor. A good cup of hot chocolate creates instant cozy wherever you go.

For some pro hot chocolate recipes, visit here!

 17. Spread some Christmas cheer. As Buddy the Elf says “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” Whether you’re singing off-key with your family or getting a group of friends to go caroling, nobody’s a bad singer when it comes to Christmas.

18. Go out and be still. Winter is one of those times when nature is relatively quiet. All the animals are cozied up and asleep and snow blankets a lot of noise. So bundle up, go to a remote park, and just sit and soak in the quiet.

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 19. Relive your childhood days. If you’re coming home for Christmas, go visit somewhere that you haven’t been for years, like your favorite park or the restaurant that you always loved as a kid. And even if you’re not coming home, do something that makes you feel young again, like watching Saturday morning cartoons or going to bed at a reasonable hour {like THAT’s going to happen…}

 20. Invest quality time in relationships. Now that your duties have shifted from working to spending, it’s time to spend some time with those you love most! And no, not just shopping or eating together. You can have known someone their whole life and not know something about them. Figure out an obscure interest of theirs and learn more about it!

 21. Turn consumerism on its head. While changing the consumption and consumerism trend that defines the holidays is a long time coming, spend some time this Christmas giving—not just some change in a Salvation Army canister, but of your time. Go volunteer at a local shelter, or spend some time with someone who might be having a hard time during the holidays. Sometimes our focus is so much on what we’re wrapping up that we lose sight of the relationships that the holidays are supposed to develop.

 22. Take a walk downtown. I know that by now you know I love to recreate those iconic Christmas scenes. So there’s nothing that I’m going to be more excited about than talking a walk downtown and looking at all the stores all decorated, with snow softly falling in the background…what? Unrealistic, me? No….

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 23. Learn how to wrap a present the right way. Because presentation is everything, I’m directing you here to learn how to wrap your presents the right way. You’re welcome.

 24. Make a smorgasbord of Christmas cookies. Yes, I just used the word smorgasbord and spelled it right THE FIRST TIME.

All the recipes for any kind of cookie ever can be found here.

 25. Spend some time reflecting on 2013. It’s been quite the year. “Selfie” was officially added to the dictionary, Miley Cyrus was Miley Cyrus, and other important things happened. Take some time to think about what 2013 meant to you, our nation, and our world. You could even make a time capsule and bury it for some future millennial to Instagram.

26. Make plans for 2014. While I’m all about reinventing yourself on a daily basis, there’s something fun about New Year’s resolutions. I’m doing something really exciting for my resolutions, so stay tuned!

 27. Beat the winter blues! If you’re anything like me, the lack of sunlight during the winter can be downright depressing. And if you don’t happen to have a private jet that can whisk you away to some sunny paradise island, bring a little sunshine in! Bring home some flowers, put on some ocean tunes and daydream away. There’s also this magical thing called self-tanner that you can use to convince everyone that indeed, you went somewhere warm and sunny. Isn’t America great?

28. Get lost. Who says road trips are just for summer. Pack your camera, some snacks, and maybe a friend or two and just get on a road and go. Who knows what adventures you’ll find?

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29. Practice patience. As someone who’s worked retail during the holidays, I just want to throw a reminder out there that Christmas is about good cheer and love. And it’s kind of hypocritical to put a poor retail worker through hell just so you can get a gift for someone. Yes, stores are going to be crazy and things may take a little longer than expected. But a little extra kindness goes a long way.

 30. Learn to be a good host {or guest!}: Christmas soirees are my favorite. If you’re planning on throwing one, here are some more Pinterest ideas for the perfect party. And if you’re a guest, make sure that you’ve found a killer dish or dessert that you can bring to a party—and keep some copies of the recipe handy. If we’re all going to get plump, we might as well do it together.

 31. Have yourself a merry little December! Regardless of how you celebrate, enjoy this month where everything is chilly, bright, and filled with love. Wishing you all the best during this holiday season. And don’t worry—this blog is about to be filled with ALL the delicious recipes. Get excited.

Peace, love, and blessings,

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